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Name: People v. Cardona
Case #: F054344
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 09/04/2009

A defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to jury trial is not violated by the trial court’s finding that defendant is unfit to be dealt with under the juvenile court law. Appellant was charged with numerous forcible sex offenses. The crimes were committed when appellant was between the ages of 16 and 18 years. Appellant did not object to the direct filing of the information in adult court and the jury duly found him guilty. The court, opting to hold a fitness hearing, found appellant unamenable to treatment in the juvenile court system and sentenced him to 30 years to life in state prison. By failing to object to the procedures used, appellant forfeited any due process claim. The court also found that because the factual findings involved in a fitness hearing are not the functional equivalent of an element of the crime, appellant was not entitled to a jury trial on the issue of whether he should be sentenced under the juvenile court system or adult court. In this case, appellant’s constitutional concerns were fully satisfied by the jury’s finding beyond a reasonable doubt of those facts legally essential to the punishment imposed. (Apprendi v. New Jersey (2000) 530 U.S. 466 [120 S.Ct. 2348, 147 L.Ed.2d 435].)